Thursday, 4 July 2013

Give me some oxygen for your plane...please...pretty please...

Last year before I traveled, my doctor tested the blood from my wrist (not a painless place to have a needle jabbed into you) to see my oxygen levels. I learned then that the oxygen levels in airplanes is lower than real air so people can have difficulties breathing once the plane takes off. Thankfully then my levels were ok and I have not flown since.

With this trip to Toronto, I assumed my doctor would check my levels again but she spared me the pain (literally!) by declaring that 'of course' I needed oxygen for the flight (I enjoy my world of denial). So I booked my flight last week, checked the 'special accommodation' box, read that I needed to contact them 48 hours before flying to remind them that I require oxygen, and then continued about my life for several days. I then emailed the CF coordinator to see if a doctor would write me a note for the oxygen assuming I would need some documentation when I went to check-in. The CF coordinator emailed me back saying there was a form on the Air Canada website that needed filled out and that could I bring it in by Wednesday as the doctor is on vacation until Thursday. I felt foolish thinking that I could just have a doctor write a note.

So I printed off the forms and where it says 'flight' and 'flight number', they only provided 2 lines to write anything. So that got me thinking that maybe there had to be two different forms filled out for the departure and arriving flights. That made no sense to me, but seeing as the only affordable flights involve a lay-over, you think if they wanted each stop written down separately, they would provide more lines on their form.

Confused, I decided that maybe I should call the number they provided to clarify. After pressing 1 for English, I learned that while no, they do not require a separate form for each flight, they do require more than 48 hours notice for oxygen. Incredibly confused, I stated that the website said 48 hours and it is more then 48 hours so why would you say 48 hours if you need more time? She replied dismissively that 'they require 48 hours to get the oxygen to the airport and they have a physician who needs to approve and order it but he needs to receive the doctors forms first so obviously you need to provide them with more time you silly girl.'  Oh of course. Obviously I should have known better. Sorry, I was only getting my information from your website.

Eventually, she resigned to the fact that there was no possible way I was going to travel back in time just for some forms that needed to be sent in a few days ago and that maybe having the doctor fill them out on Thursday would be enough time to get some oxygen on the plane for Sunday (seriously, aren't you an airline? Instead of using Canada Post [definitely a made-up fact] maybe you could just use your own massive airplanes to ship the thing?).

I dropped the forms off to the doctor yesterday and she must have filled them out because I got a call from the airline today to say that everything has been approved and can they please have a credit card number (they could provide them for free if they stopped using Canada Post). So it looks like I will be styling with my nasal prongs on Sunday after all.

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